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Mahesh Babu is stylish and brilliant as professional killer. He suited the profile of Nandu to the tee. He lives up to his image of Prince Charming with his mesmerizing looks. He transformed smoothly from the character of Nandu to Pardhoo, yet shown the variation in histrionics that come out due to Nandu's guiltiness to impersonate Pardhoo.
Trisha is in her elements in this film with traditional attire and cute mannerisms. The only difference between her characters in Varsham & NVNV and this film is that the voice dubbed by Savitha Reddy is mellowed down a bit, which is good. However, her role in this film is less compared to her past films.
Sonu Sood is perfect. Prakash Raj is adequate as the investigating officer. Tanikella Bharani's get-up and dialogue delivery is different when compared to the roles he is offered these days. Brahmaji is effectively used for a comedy fight in this film. Nassar donned the role of an old man. Frail voice dubbing by SP Balu suited him. Brahmanandam and Dharmavarapu Subramanyam succeeded in creating good humor. Sunil is good as loyal friend. Kota and Sayaji Shinde are adequate. K Viswanath did guest appearance as CBI's local chief.
Trivikram is known for his class entertainers that are loaded with sensible humor and nice emotional quotient. He tried something different for this film. The way he opened the film with a tree shot is terrific. You feel like you are watching Ram Gopal Varma's film in the first half an hour. His taking is trendy and stylish. When the scene shifts to village, Trivikram tries to lace in his typical humor. The screenplay of the film is not binding enough to blend these two stories (contract killer story and masquerader story). Nevertheless, he could not hold the similar tempo in the second half. The continuity and logic behind certain scenes is missing.
Photography of the film is terrific. The camera angles, shot framing, lighting effects and camera movements are appropriate to the respective scenes. A tint is used for the first half an hour of the film which made this film appear like the Hollywood films made with Mexican backdrop. Cinematographer KV Guhan deserves a pat on his back for his fine work.
Trivikram - Beyond the usual applause he gets for his dialogues, this film is memorable for his direction. Be it the very first scene which establishes the hero's character or the last one which is technically one of the most challenging fights choreographed with 120 cameras being used to shoot it, his direction has panache written all over it.
The subtlety in humor and fight scenes is another strong aspect of the film. The countryside and the relationships Pardhu cultivates over there make you empathize with him. Pardhu understands what it is being loved for the very first time in his life and his relationship with his grandfather (Nasser), Ramana (Sunil) and Puri (Trisha) bring a lot of heart into the film and makes it different from any other action flick. In short, novelty in making, humor, Mahesh Babu's acting, a screenplay which blends mainstream Telugu masala with carefully etched characters, witty dialogues, stylish fight choreography and above all Trivikram's finesse both as a writer and director make ATHADU the best Telugu film.
There are some scenes which are a textbook for any aspiring filmmaker.
>The initial sequence of Mahesh Babu killing in crowded bazaar was so smooth and subtle that surprise me every time. >The scene starting from speech from Kota Srinivasa Rao on political dais and announcing Shayaji Shinde arrival to him getting hit by bullet in head is so perfectly orchestrated that you would want to watch it 10 times just for that one. >The fight at fields with innocent villagers, fight at temple with Brahmaji, Climax fight are so apt to surroundings and mood of the film. It's refreshing to see such kind of stunts. >Some sentiment moments adds the required emotional quotient. >How can one forget dialogues by Brahmanandam. >Hero Intro song is probably the best. If Mahesh Babu makes a James- bondish movie, this can be used. I can write a book on this film.
Of course, it is inspired by a combination of Hollywood flicks like Shooter, The Bourne Series etc., The narration of the story is good. Rich film making, good story background, excellent performances, script, background score - Everything is an asset to this movie..
I would say, the main credit goes to Trivikram Srinivas - The director. Amazing dialogues (literally very good), excellent screenplay and fantastic direction. Mahesh babu, the lead actor, has done his career best. However, the director dominates every aspect of movie including Guhan's good camera work and Mani's music.
Finally, a must watch for a Telugu cine-goer.
This movie and Pokkiri sort of setup mahesh babu as a superstar in Telugu industry.
"Athadu" is a film I enjoyed during the first half of the movie. But as the film progressed, my interest waned greatly. And the CGI- intensive ending really, really annoyed me.
The film begins with a sweet little kid, Nandu, murdering some gangster type. Obviously this is NOT an ordinary little psychopath. Soon a guy sees the kid's psychotic promise and gets him to become a contract killer. The credits appear and then suddenly the boy has grown to be a studly man. He is now a super-assassin. In fact he's so good that he's approached with a bizarre proposition...he's to deliberately make an unsuccessful attempt on a politician's life. They explain that the injury will guarantee the guy an easy win in the election. However, when Nandu is setting up and readying for his shot with a rifle and scope, someone else shoots and kills one of the folk!! Almost instantly, the police KNOW where Nandu is and try to catch him...he's obviously a patsy for someone's evil plot.
After evading the police, he finds himself in a train with a talkative man named Pardhu. It seems that Pardhu has been estranged from his small town family for over a decade and now he's finally returning. However, after conveniently telling Nardu EVERYTHING about himself, Pardhu is killed by police fire as shots ring out. Nardu escapes again and makes himself to the town where Pardhu was headed...with the intention of him assuming Pardu's life and identity.
This is a nice setup and I liked this portion of the movie. But when the super-clichéd lady love interest is introduced, the quality and style of the movie changes. It had been an exciting and gritty crime film...but now a sappy and ridiculous romance. She turns out to be the most spoiled, obnoxious and self-absorbed woman I have EVER seen in a movie...and, inexplicably, you know that faux Pardhu will fall for her. This makes no sense...and having him KILL her would have made much, much more sense. What also doesn't make a lot of sense is seeing a serial killer slowly changing into a swell guy who comes to love his new family!
While all this is bad, it gets MUCH worse at the end with a giant shootout with many baddies and faux Pardhu taking them all one and, naturally, winning. This is bad enough but so much of this is done in slow-motion, with crazy ridiculous CGI. It is so over-stylized and dumb that I found myself praying for the movie to end!!!
The bottom line is that I know you will a few clichés in Indian movies...they are so often formulaic. But the awfulness of the woman took it from formula to the ridiculous...and the ending was hellishly bad. It's a shame....it really DID start off very well.
Many Indian films suffer from this, and this is not to dis the whole Indian film culture, but there are many holes in the narrative, voluntarily shot on the canvas by the writer/director. For instance, the emotional tangent that Nandu goes on after being introduced as a cold blooded professional is utterly unconvincing. His acting is straight out of an English language American B movie and he seems painfully plugged into a Telugu movie. What is so hard about spotting something like this? If a movie maintains its "tone" while playing out, no matter how outrageous it may be, it tends to settle in the audience's mind. Once we know what kind of a ride we are on, it is not hard to sit through consistent movies, no matter the genre. This movie has a hard time deciding what it wants to be.
The lifts from "Matrix" and "Face/Off" were neither necessary not subtle. So much money spent on what could have been a good movie, but even worse is the extra 90 minutes we are subjected to on absolutely needless distractions.